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Thoughts from the Frankfurt Motor Show

Obviously the most important car should be the new 911:

(Hopefully the presence of the 991 version will depress the prices of the 997 (the current model) enough for me to replace my 996 with one in two or three years.)

And then there's a new convertible Ferrari:

...which is as pretty as you'd expect.

But to be honest, the most exciting car in the show may well be the new Jag:

Unlike the Porsche and the Ferrari though, this isn't quite a production car - at least not yet. The concept does have some interesting features though. First of all, it's a hybrid, although not in quite the same way as a Toyota Pious. It's rather closer to the KERS system that Formula 1 is still playing around with - waste energy from braking charges a battery which can be used to boost power for short bursts with a button on the steering wheel. That sounds like great fun. And the electric motor is able to power the car at up to 50mph without even involving the 375bhp supercharged V6.

And best of all, some reports are suggesting that prices may start as low as £50,000. That's seriously competitive for a car that, on paper at least, out performs a 911.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
More stuff from Frankfurt:

VW is really pushing their new city car, the 'Up!'. (Yes, you have to include the exclamation mark apparently. I suspect this car will be more popular in Westward Ho! than in other North Devon villages.) It looks very dull, much like earlier VW city cars like the Fox. That's going to make it difficult to go up against the likes of the Fiat 500 in the market of 'people who live in cities, who have a bit of cash but who don't want a big car'. I think it'll have to be cheap to compete.

Toyota has a new sporty coupe, the FT-86. Front engine and rear-wheel drive. About time Toyota went back to selling cars to enthusiasts. I always thought it odd that Toyota used to put so much effort into the World Rally Championship (back in the days of Carlos Sainz), but so little effort in selling cars to the sort of people who watch rallying. Subaru and Mitsubishi showed how you could tap into that market back in the 1990s. Citroen, which has dominated WRC for years, makes the same mistake that Toyota did.
Sep. 15th, 2011 09:23 pm (UTC)
Finally, Honda is talking about one day going back to selling performance cars. There is some talk about resurrecting the 'Type R' badge (as seen on great cars like the Civic Type R and the old Integra Type R coupe) and maybe even a new NSX.

About bloody time. Mind you, there's no replacement for the S2000, which is almost criminal.

Not that long ago, Honda decided it would start to make engines for Formula 1 cars. These engines won world championships for Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna (all three of Senna's championships). Honda's engineers then moved on to produce the VTEC engine. This has powered all sorts of Hondas over the years (including the S2000, with its 9000rpm rev limit). I don't know whether this is still the case, but it certainly used to be claimed that VTEC engines had never, ever had a failure. And that's quite astonishing.
Oct. 5th, 2011 10:37 am (UTC)
"Toyota Pious" - hah, is that deliberate? I can see why that moniker might be felt appropriate.
Oct. 5th, 2011 01:10 pm (UTC)
Copyright J. Clarkson esq.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )